Poconos Waterpark Comparison Guide: Kalahari versus Aquatopia & Great Wolf Lodge!

A side-by-side comparison of Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari & Camelback's Aquatopia by size, # of slides, room pricing, activities, hours of operation and many more metrics to help you select the BEST water park for your family vacation!

A water park comparison guide for the water park headquarters of the USA – The Poconos! Here we constructed tables comparing the 3 indoor water parks located in the Poconos, Pennsylvania.  We compare the size of the waterparks, number of restaurants, room pricing, hours of operation, activities offered & many other aspects.   We put together this side-by-side comparison of Kalahari, Camelback’s Aquatopia & Great Wolf Lodge to help you choose the right resort or water park for your family vacation!

Our ConclusionsFood & Drink
Resort SpecsExtra Features
Hours of OperationSample Pricing
Cancellation PoliciesParking & Resort
COVID Policies
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The Poconos Water Park Comparison Guide!

Our Conclusions

The best water park will depend on your family, age of your kids and what you are looking for in a resort experience.

=> Great Wolf Lodge: Great Wolf Lodge is the BEST water park & resort for a very kid-centric experience from top to bottom. Great Wolf Lodge is the best water park for younger kids & toddlers – because it has the most charm and does a better job of “theme – ing” with it’s characters throughout the entire experience (lodging, dining & waterpark) compared to either Aquatopia or Kalahari. The kids really enjoyed the cabin themed suite – which was adorned with a lot of cute character images. They also enjoyed the interaction with the characters and the Wiley & Friends video stories that can find on one of the dedicated TV channels. It is the smallest of the 3 indoor waterparks in the Poconos, Pennsylvania.

==> Kalahari: Kalahari is the BEST water park & resort for families looking for a balance between kid activities and adult luxuries on vacation. For families with teenagers – this is the best water park for you. Kalahari is the biggest of the 3 water parks and has a wider range of offerings that will appeal to both adults & children.  At times Kalahari actually felt a little too big for us (both the resort & the water park). But having a wide variety of restaurants and foods was great! Likewise – the lobby is magnificent!  Kalahari has the largest indoor waterpark of the 3, and is the largest resort located in the Poconos.

===> Aquatopia: Aquatopia / Camelback Resort is the BEST water park & resort for families who are ready for a slightly larger water park than Great Wolf Lodge has to offer, want more kids’ activities and are be interested in more outdoor activities. Camelback Resort & Aquatopia are somewhere right in-between Kalahari & Great Wolf Lodge by almost every measure! It is in the middle in terms of the size of it’s indoor waterpark and in number of rooms at the resort. The fact that Camelback ALSO has the Mountain Resort (skiing, tubing, etc), the outdoor water park (Camelbeach) and it’s nightime illumination make it unique. Camelback’s Aquatopia seems to strike a particularly good balance for children in the 10 + age group and is the best water park for pre-teens and early teens.

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Resort Specs

Great Wolf Lodge


Waterpark sq.ft.79K220K125K
# Indoor Water Slides6 big ones + Fort Mackenzie slides (medium sized) 14 Total15 big ones + Splashdown Safari Slides (medium sized)8 big ones + Kartrite’s Quest slides (medium sized)
# Outdoor Water Slide009 big ones
# of Rooms401977453
Year Built200520152015
Most Recent Room Renovation201920152015
Conference Room Space1 meeting room (1450 sq.ft.)35 meeting rooms (205,000 sq.ft. total)4 breakout rooms (20,000 sq.ft. total)
Number of Ballrooms041
Ballroom Sizenone38,000, 25,000, 12,000, and 9,000 sq.ft7,450 sq.ft.–flexible air-wall system allows it to be divided into different sizes
Physical Specifications of the Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari & Camelback’s Aquatopia Poconos, Pennsylvania
Aquatopia Water Park, Poconos, Pennsylvania

Resort Hours of Operation

Hours of OperationGreat Wolf LodgeKalahariAquatopia
Waterpark Hours10:00-8:00 DAILYSUNDAY – THURSDAY: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM (opening 9:30 AM for Resort Guests)
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM (opening 9:30 AM for Resort Guests)
SUNDAY- THURSDAY: 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM
FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM
Hours of Operation Comparison for Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari & Camelback’s Aquatopia Poconos, Pennsylvania
Kalahari Water Park, Poconos, Pennsylvania

Resort Food & Drink Options

Great Wolf LodgeKalahariAquatopia
Coffee ShopDunkin DonutsJava Manjaro (featuring Starbucks coffee)World Bazaar Coffee Shop (serving Green Mountain coffee)
BuffetThe Loose Moose Family KitchenGreat Karoo Marketplace BuffetHemispheres
Sweets*Buckets Incredible Craveables
*Ben & Jerry’s
The Last BiteSweet Discovery
Swim-up Barnone*The Thirsty Turtle
*Paxton Grotto
Bar and Grill*Grizzly Jack’s Bar and Grill
*Grizzly Rob’s Bar
*B-Lux Grill and Bar
*Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar 
*Trails End Pub and Grille
*Kartrite’s Summit House
*Hungry as a Wolf
*Buckets Incredible Craveables
*Cafe Mirage *Pizza PubGraffiti Pizza
Italian RestaurantnoneSortino’s Italian KitchenBerrelli’s Family Style Italian
Food & Drink offering comparison between Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari & Camelback’s Aquatopia Poconos, Pennsylvania

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park Poconos, Pennsylvania

Resort – Extra Features

Great Wolf LodgeKalahariAquatopia
Nighttime Illumination EffectNoneNoneYes–illuminated at night, but gently, to make the waterpark feel like evening
Miniature GolfHowl at the Moon Glow Golf*Blacklight Mini Golf
*Legends of the Lost Jungle Mini Golf
BowlingTen Paw AlleyMini bowlingStone Rollers
Ropes CourseHowlers Peak (outdoor)Gorilla Grove Treetop Adventures (outdoor)*K2 Climb (indoor)
*Treetop Adventure (outdoor)
Magiquest & Shadowquest
Laser TagNoNoYes
Rock ClimbingNoNoYes (Indoor)
Escape RoomNoWrath of AnubisYes
Virtual RealityNoYesYes
Bumper CarsNoNoKrazy Karts
Gem MiningOliver’s MiningNoCamelback Mining
Mountain CoasterNoNoYes
Bungee JumpingNoNoEuro Bungee
Axe ThrowingNoNoYes
Zip LiningNoNoYes
Snow TubingNoNoYes
Segway ToursNoNoYes
Extra Features of the Poconos Water Parks, Pennsylvania

Sample Room Pricing @ The Resorts

2020 Pricing 2 Adults 3 Children

Sample PricingWednesday 1/29/2020Friday
Saturday 1/25/2020
GWL (Kid’s Cabin)$249$449$750
Kalahari (Desert suite)$316$425$785
Aquatopia (Dbl Queen Suite)$238$511$805
Sample pricing 2020 for 2 adults and 3 children. All prices include admission to the waterpark. Poconos, Pennsylvania

UPDATE: 2021 Pricing 2 Adults 4 Children

Sample PricingWednesday
Quoted Price
Price w/
All Fees & Taxes
GWL (Standard Wolf Den Suite)$549.99$632.18
Kalahari (Standard Room: Double Queen Sofa)$361.00$437.08
Aquatopia (Dbl Queen Suite w/ Balcony)$319.00$390.10 + $25 for parking = $415.10
Sample pricing 2021 for 2 adults and 4 children. All prices include admission to the waterpark. Poconos, Pennsylvania

Parking & Resort Fees

ResortParking FeeResort Fee
Aquatopia$25/night (self-park)
$40/night valet parking
KalahariNo parking fee /
Included in resort fee
Great Wolf LodgeNo parking fee /
Included in resort fee

From the pricing you see above – you can understand why we usually opt for the kids to miss a day of school when we head over to one of Poconos water parks! Not only are the room prices significantly cheaper during the week for all 3 waterparks – but the resorts are a lot less crowded as well!

Camelback’s Aquatopia had the greatest variation in price for a room – being slightly cheaper during the week AND the most expensive on the weekend. Great Wolf Lodge was nearly as inexpensive during the week as Aquatopia ($249 vs $238), and the cheapest on Saturday night. Kalahari was the cheapest on Friday evening – but the most expensive during the week & the second most expensive on Saturday evening.

Camelback’s Aquatopia also had the highest resort fee and the prices quoted on the website do not include the $25/night parking fee. So please be aware of this fact when considering the total cost of the resort.

Cancellation Policies

ResortCancellation Policy
AquatopiaForfeit $100 if cancellation is at least 3 days prior to your arrival
Forfeit the cost of one night is cancellation is within 3 days of arrival.
Great Wolf LodgeGenerally – $50 if canceled 8 or more days before arrival.
$100 if canceled 3-7 days prior to arrival.
First night’s deposit if cancellation is made less than 3 days prior to arrival. See details HERE. (under Booking Policy)
Kalahari$25 if more than 3 days prior to arrival.
If less than 3 days before arrival one night’s deposit.
Poconos resort cancellation policies

To read more about our experiences at these water parks and our evaluation of each – please check out these other posts:

Great Wolf Lodge VS. Kalahari VS. Camelback’s Aquatopia! The Poconos Waterpark Showdown 2019,  and

Adventure Update # 018: My Tricycle is Very Very Fast!

I hope you found this helpful!


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Mother to 4 wonderful children, wife to one witty, but extremely nerdy husband.
Aspiring super-mom - who is still anxiously awaiting the arrival of her homemaker skills & superpowers of organization to arrive from Amazon Prime....
(Seems like I placed that order a looOong time ago...)_

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